Certainly, they are more likely than the general population to wear beer-themed t-shirts and gumboots. However, in the end perhaps the only characteristics they truly have in common are a love of beer and the drive to make it. Brewing is not an easy job. Many craft brewers changed careers to make beer for a living.They may have been an engineer, scientist, academic, technology geek, dentist, policy analyst or builder.

[1] In recent years, there have been several brewers who have gone straight to work. Kelly Ryan, in his last week at Epic Brewing Company before heading to a new brewpub in Hamilton, blogged: “I was never a homebrewer. I went straight into a trainee brewer role with a couple of science degrees under my belt and was armed with the knowledge that the late Jean-Pierre Dufour (my professor at Otago Uni and an amazing brewing scientist and educator) [2] had given. I knew about metabolic pathways of yeast, the flavour chemistry of esters and higher alcohols and how fantastic Duvel and Chimay were (JP was Belgian, so we would do sensory analysis on Belgian beers in our lab classes) yet I’d never physically brewed a beer before my first job.”

Now, the team of Matt’s at ParrotDog Brewing, with a couple of degrees under their respective belts, is making a massive move of their own. In the last two years they already moved from university students who home brewed to university students who contract brewed their popular beers at mikes Organic Brewery in Taranaki. Salient beer writer, fellow student and home brewer David Wood wrote in August 2011: “Once upon a time, two Victoria University students had a dream — to sell their homebrew commercially in New Zealand. And that dream has recently come true — despite the fact they’re still studying. [3] A few months after starting home brewing myself, I met Matt Warner and Matt Kristovski, who lived down the road from me. They came over one day to check out my equipment, [4] because they were planning to build their own brew kit for their home brewery, dubbed ParrotDog. After much trial and error, Matt and Matt hammered out a few solid recipes and the urge to share their successes with the public grew and grew. Eventually they approached their mate Matt Stevens (who is conveniently a chartered accountant), and went thirds in creating a real-life company: ParrotDog Brewing Limited. They followed the growing trend of contract brewing and brewed their first beer, BitterBitch, at Mike’s Brewery in Taranaki.”

Now, they are set to become full-time craft brewers. To that end, they have invested in a new 2,500 litre brewery located in central Wellington. It is hoped and expected to be operational in a couple of months. I blogged over at Beer and Brewer that “this is a huge step for three young men but I wish them every success. If only I had been as focussed and as determined at their age… The new ParrotDog brewery will be great addition to the Wellington and New Zealand beer scenes.” Doubtless there will be a scary first couple of months in business but they certainly make good enough beers to succeed.

The new brewery will be at 29 Vivian Street in Wellington, the Craft Beer Capital of New Zealand. ParrotDog has taken possession of the site and are busy preparing and painting while the plant is built in China. In additional good news, iPhone Maps reliably informs me that the ParrotDog brewery is a mere 460 metre walk from Malthouse. I am somewhat sceptical about the estimated walking time of five minutes though. Perhaps Colin the Handsome, Softly Spoken yet Spritely Scottish Proprietor could do it that time. Me, I’m thinking eight minutes is a suitable gentlemanly pace. Of course, this being Wellington with our beloved one-way system, the distance to drive between the two places is twice as long (1.0km) but is still only expected to take three minutes. I think it is safe to say that most beers should arrive after a three minute journey in a most excellent condition. That is good news for fans of the ParrotDog range which obviously includes me. ParrotDog BitterBitch IPA (5.8%) was my number one beer of 2011 and I can’t wait for it to be available again. Currently on tap at Malthouse is their latest offering, ParrotDog FlaxenFeather (5.5%). It is described by the brewers as “a crisp, refreshing blonde ale showcasing a pale-coloured English malt base and an array of aromatic New Zealand hops.”

After extensive research, I can confirm it is a tasty little number and there are only very limited stocks left.[5]

Get your ParrotDog on.

[1] All highly skilled and productive jobs – apart from policy analyst obviously.

[2] The annual Emerson’s JP beers are named in his honour. He is greatly missed.

[3] Mr Wood’s beer writer credentials are being reviewed by the appropriate authorities after he started the first sentence with “Once upon a Time” and the second with “And.” Then again, the title of this blog post is a play on a Proclaimers song so I am probably not in a strong position to pass judgement.

[4] In comments section, Yeastie Boy and fashionista Stu McKinlay maturely wrote what we were all thinking “They came over one day to check out my equipment” *chuckles and reads on*”

[5] There may be a correlation between the extensive research and the limited stocks.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Real Beer

New Zealand Beer and Brewer Magazine

Links Kelly Ryan “It’s been Epic”: http://beerevolution.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/its-been-epic/

ParrotDog Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/parrotdog

Beer and Brewer Blog – http://www.beerandbrewer.com/_blog/Neil_Miller_-_NZ/post/Young_brewers_take_the_plunge_in_central_Wellington/

David Wood “Once upon a time”: http://salient.org.nz/columns/beer-will-be-beer-a-tale-of-three-matts-and-a-parrotdog

Malthouse Facebook – www.facebook.com/pages/Malthouse/7084276173

Malthouse Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/MalthouseTaps

Neil Miller on Twitter – www.twitter.com/#beerlytweeting

Real Beer – www.realbeer.co.nz

Beer and Brewer Magazine – www.beerandbrewer.com/